Rift Emerging Between NYC Labor Movement and Police Unions

Labor unions backed Bill de Blasio in his mayoral run, but have stayed silent as attacks on the mayor by police union heads have mounted.
The incendiary rhetoric and actions of New York City police union head, Patrick Lynch, appear to be creating a division between police unions and the City’s labor movement.

However, most labor leaders have chosen to remain silent, though that may soon change according to an article by BuzzFeed News.

Lynch has chosen to lead a hostile campaign against Bill de Blasio, the elected Mayor of the largest city in the U.S. The police union head is critical of the Mayor for his crticism of the grand decision to not indict the white officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

Lynch accused de Blasio of having “blood on his hands” after two New York police officers were killed by a gunman who had made statements on social media saying he wanted to avenge the deaths of unarmed Black men at the hands of law enforcement.

In an attempt to smooth relationships over, the mayor met with the various heads of the police unions, including Lynch, though the Tuesday meeting appeared to produce very little results.

Jonathan Tasini, a former union leader, wrote a scathing editorial in the New York Daily News chastising the labor movement for remaining silent in the face of Lynch’s attacks on the mayor. “The basic principles that inspired labor’s agenda for generations are antithetical to Lynch’s divisiveness,” said Tasini.

The labor movement in New York City strongly backed de Blasio’s candidacy.

Tasini also suggested that the current contract negotiations between the police union and the city may also be playing a role in Lynch’s approach to the mayor, saying, “Lynch’s statements could be seen as a cynical attempt to deflect from his failure to secure a contract for his members.”

Mayor de Blasio’s administration successfully signed deals with most other unions in the city, including the United Federation of Teachers. However a deal could not be reached with police and has now gone to binding arbitration.

Meanwhile, Lynch faces a 2105 reelection campaign for his position.